The Mission Statement for the WELS Chaplain Certification Program

The WELS Chaplain Certification Program exists to help address the challenges that face WELS chaplains in meeting requirements to gain access and to carry on ministry with public or private healthcare agencies, and in hospitals, correctional facilities, and on military installations, and with public safety agencies.

The WELS Chaplain Certification Program also exists to assist (WELS) certified chaplains to receive ongoing education and training opportunities so that they may enhance and increase their skill sets as they learn new insights for sharing the love of Christ with others.

WELS Chaplain Certification Continuing Education (CE) Requirements:

The continuing education program for maintenance of WELS Chaplain Certification is designed to develop and promote chaplaincy skills for the WELS certified chaplain.

This program publicly establishes the commitment of the chaplain to develop and maintain quality professional skills on a continual basis. To maintain their certification, individuals must engage in continuing education for their professional growth and development.

Continuing Education Objectives

The objectives for continuing education seek to:

  • Provide opportunities to maintain and enhance the professional knowledge and pastoral competency and performance of chaplains.
  • Provide opportunities to help chaplains identify personal and professional needs, and receive consultation, support and counsel from peers.
  • Promote the development of resources and networks for the ongoing personal and professional learning and growth experiences of chaplains.

Continuing Education Requirements

All WELS certified chaplains are required to accumulate a minimum of 75 hours of continuing education (CE) in 3 years (or 25 hours per year) through participation in a broad range of educational experiences that relate to professional chaplaincy.

Guidelines for Continuing Education Hours

There are three areas of educational experiences that count toward the 75 continuing education hours (CE) every 3 years (or 25 hours per year): Education; Teaching/Presentation; and Service.

A CE hour is equal to 60 minutes. CE hours should be relevant to the field of chaplaincy.

Note:   a three credit, one semester chaplaincy certification class through MLC would equal 75 CE hours

1. Education

CE hours could be acquired through:

  • Workshops, symposiums, seminars, and webinars that are directly related to chaplaincy and/or related to the specific field in which a chaplain works (i.e. military, police, fire, hospital, nursing home, jail, prison etc.) Appropriate documentation of credits or CE hours is required.”
  • Academic courses related to chaplaincy that lead to a certification or advanced degree
  • Independent-study may be arranged through Martin Luther College (MLC) and through the Continuing Education Sub-Committee of the Chaplain Certification Program Committee. A member of the CCP may be used as the instructor/advisor of the independent study.

CE hours cannot be acquired through:

  • Attending or participating in academic courses or educational events unrelated chaplaincy work
  • Attending circuit meetings, conference meetings and district conventions/conferences which has more to do with keeping one’s ecclesiastical endorsement in good standing

2. Teaching/Presentation

CE hours acquired through Teaching/Presentation may include:

  •  The time spent researching a chaplaincy topic, writing or compiling the presentation and the time spent presenting the topic
    Such a paper/presentation could be done for circuit/conference/district and may count toward CE hours with documentation of hours spent as noted above plus a copy of the final paper or presentation
  • The time spent writing an article on the topic or a specific topic of chaplaincy for Forward in Christ (FIC) or Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly (WLQ)
  • The time spent researching a chaplaincy topic and presenting a written presentation to the CCP Committee for future use in Chaplaincy CE

CE hours for Teaching/Presentation cannot be acquired through:

  •  The time spent in publishing tasks such as making a presentation looking more presentable or the time spent making copies
  • The time spent in routine chaplain duties do not count toward continuing education.

3. Service

CE hours for service will include up to 10 hours per year for CCP committee members for attendance of CCP Committee meetings and service to the committee

Renewal of Certification

The first Renewal of Certificate will be the January 1 after the third anniversary of the chaplain’s certification and thereafter it will be every 3 years on January 1. (Example: a chaplain who was certified June 2012, will have his/her three year anniversary June 2015 and the January after that would be January 1, 2016, the next renewal date would be January 1, 2019 and so on.)

A renewal fee of $75 will be submitted one month prior to the renewal date with the verification of the CE of 75 hours for the previous 3 years. Renewal fee will be submitted to WELS Special Ministries.

A sub-committee of the CCP will review and make recommendations for continued certification.

Chaplain ID Card with picture and expiration date of certification to be provided by Special Ministries.

For questions about the WELS Chaplain Certificate Program please contact: